A monologue from the play by Lord Byron

download the complete text of Manfred

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Lord Byron: Six Plays. Lord Byron. Los Angeles: Black Box Press, 2007.
  • MANFRED: Thou false fiend, thou liest!
    My life is in its last hour—that I know,
    Nor would redeem a moment of that hour;
    I do not combat against Death, but thee
    And thy surrounding angels; my past power
    Was purchased by no compact with thy crew,
    But by superior science—penance, daring,
    And length of watching, strength of mind, and skill
    In knowledge of our Fathers—when the earth
    Saw men and spirits walking side by side,
    And gave ye no supremacy: I stand
    Upon my strength—I do defy—deny—
    Spurn back, and scorn ye!—
    What are my crimes to such as thee?
    Must crimes be punished but by other crimes,
    And greater criminals?—Back to thy hell!
    Thou hast no power upon me, that I feel;
    Thou never shalt possess me, that I know:
    What I have done is done; I bear within
    A torture which could nothing gain from thine:
    The Mind which is immortal makes itself
    Requital for its good or evil thoughts—
    Is its own origin of ill and end—
    And its own place and time: its innate sense,
    When stripped of this mortality, derives
    No colour from the fleeting things without,
    But is absorbed in sufferance or in joy,
    Born from the knowledge of its own desert.
    Thou didst not tempt me, and thou couldst not tempt me;
    I have not been thy dupe, nor am thy prey—
    But was my own destroyer, and will be
    My own hereafter.—Back, ye baffled fiends!
    The hand of Death is on me—but not yours!